Judge orders names, photographs tied to Hadid bribery probe to be released
Mega-developer also instructed to tear down top floor of Bel Air mansion
The judge overseeing the case involving neighbors seeking to tear down developer Mohamed Hadid’s half-built Bel Air mansion ordered city officials to release the names of five individuals who worked on the controversial property, as well as photographs of the inside of one former city inspector’s home.
Among the names ordered released Tuesday were at least two deputy inspectors from a third-party company who worked on the property, as well as Hadid’s general contractor and Anthony Anderson, a former building mechanical inspector with the Department of Building and Safety.
Hadid is the mega-developer behind several high-end residential projects in L.A., most notably, 901 Strada Vecchia. His half-built, 30,000-square-foot Bel Air property, once believed to be worth $100 million, has become the subject of both a civil and criminal case, and most recently, an FBI probe.
At a hearing in Santa Monica, L.A. Superior Court Judge Craig Karlan ordered photographs of the interior of Anderson’s home to be released. An attorney representing four neighbors suing Hadid seized on the judge’s decision as evidence of potential wrongdoing by the former inspector.
“Things of value were either constructed or provided to this person, and they are now inside his home,” said George Soneff, the attorney representing the neighbors.
Jeffrey Costell, an attorney representing Hadid, dismissed the judge’s decision as far from “substantive,” saying “the plaintiffs are entitled to these pictures so they can investigate further.”
Also Tuesday, the judge confirmed that the FBI was still investigating the Hadid property. He said he he had decided to keep the investigation sealed so as to “not compromise the investigation currently pending with the FBI.”
In October, a city investigator said he had discovered evidence that a city employee tasked with inspecting the home on Strada Vecchia Road had received “items of value” in connection with that job. That investigator then reportedly shared that information with the FBI, which opened an investigation into the matter.
In a separate but related criminal case in Van Nuys, Judge Neetu Badhan-Smith ordered Hadid in December to demolish the top floor of his massive, half-built property. He has until Feb. 1 to do so, according to court records.
Judge Karlan suggested Tuesday that the photos and names of five individuals could yield developments in the case, saying that his decision to release the names and photos will “become clear” when lawyers depose the individuals.
Two out of the five names on the list are Jack Fisher of Northridge-based Fisher Inspection Services, and one of his former employees, Eric Winterstrom, Fisher told The Real Deal on Tuesday.
Hadid hired Fisher as a deputy inspector — a third-party, certified inspector that constantly monitors the property and then gives reports to a city inspector, such as Anderson, Fisher said.
Problems arose when Anderson would “never show up,” Fisher said, and the city ended up firing him. Fisher said he no longer works for Hadid, and hasn’t visited the property in more than four years.
Anderson could not be reached for comment. A representative for the Department of Building and Safety did not respond by press time.
The judge on Tuesday postponed the civil trial from May to sometime in the fall, or as late as March 2020.
Source: The Real Deal Los Angeles